Paying It Forward as a Business Value

Carter Welcomes Lisa Hinson of Hinson Ltd Public Relations

We invited Lisa Hinson, Owner of Hinson Ltd Public Relations, to be a guest blogger and share her thoughts on community engagement in commercial real estate. Hinson Ltd Public Relations currently handles local public relations for our mixed-use, multi-family development, Highpoint on Columbus Commons, in Columbus, Ohio.

Anyone who has spent time in the land of the Buckeyes knows that Coach Woody Hayes was legendary on many levels, but particularly in the art of the quotable quote. His sayings live on, vividly articulating his philosophy on life, leadership and football. The most often quoted Woodyism continues to be “you can never pay back; but you can pay forward.”

In Columbus, we fully embrace this pay it forward philosophy so it’s not surprising that our community has become known for its active stewardship and philanthropy. For example, The Columbus Foundation is the 7th largest community foundation worldwide and Pelotonia, a bike tour that raises money for cancer research, is one of the highest grossing cycling fundraisers in the country, this year drawing more than 6,000 participants and raising $19 million for The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at The Ohio State University.

Outstanding results like these are only achievable because organizations and individuals have made it a priority to contribute to the vibrancy of life here. They invest time, talent and treasure in people and programs that increase opportunity in all its forms.

The idea of collaborating for the common good is certainly relevant to individuals, but perhaps more so to businesses who want loyal customers and a market that is economically vibrant.

Business benefits from active community involvement in a number of direct and indirect ways:

  1. Businesses thrive when their communities thrive: It stands to reason that if a community is healthier—economically, physically, socially and intellectually—businesses will have larger customer and talent pools from which to draw. The success of a business and its community are inextricably tied together.
  2. Community involvement helps attract and retain employees: Developing strong relationships and investing in a community’s well-being results in greater loyalty and good will among employees. Businesses are better able to attract and retain talent and those employees are generally more productive and happier in business environments where community involvement is a shared value. For the employee, community engagement also provides leadership opportunities externally and within the company to further develop skills that can help advance a career and increase value to an organization.
  3. Community engagement builds brand loyalty and has become an expectation: When a business has a shared valued with a market customers have a greater affinity for that brand and will choose to do business with those who care about things that are important to them. According to the 2013 report on Corporate Giving issued by The Conference Board, 59 percent of companies recommitted to their communities by giving more to charity in 2012 than they did in 2007, before the recession took hold. Jonathan Spector, President and CEO, The Conference Board said, “The benefit behind companies being a better community partner is that these societal solutions also solve core business challenges, simultaneously. From engaged employees to more efficient use of surplus products, benefits are streaming both ways.”

Paragons of industry in Columbus, from Huntington Bank to Limited Brands embrace this philosophy and understand these benefits and although new to the market, Carter, developer of Highpoint on Columbus Commons in the heart of downtown Columbus, embraced community involvement from the very start by becoming involved in central Ohio while the $50 million, 301 unit apartments were still under construction. Highpoint leveraged its location on Columbus Commons to promote both Pelotonia and the prestigious Presidents Cup, the global golf competition that was hosted in Columbus this past summer. Carter also contributed financially to both endeavors and is in discussion with other Columbus organizations to leverage resources for the good of the community.

In Columbus, we adhere to many of Woody Hayes’ philosophies whether knowingly or otherwise. We certainly do our best to pay it forward, for a variety of reasons. But perhaps the primary motivating factor is another of the football coach’s most famous utterances: “You win with people.” And we believe in our people and their desire to make our city a better place to live. 

Read more about Carter’s involvement with Pelotonia and the Presidents Cup, both of which were hosted at Columbus Commons and drew thousands of people to the area. 
Missed our last guest blogger? Read Invest Atlanta’s Brian McGowan’s thoughts on economic development in the city of Atlanta.

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